News / Asia

Korea Wins Olympic Gold in Short Track Speed Skating

South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
Parke Brewer
Short track speed skating at the Winter Olympics, especially the relay races, often provide controversial results. That was the case Tuesday in the women's 3,000-meter relay. 
 
There is no doubt one of the reasons short track speed skating was added to the Olympic program in 1992 is because of the thrill and drama it often provides.
 
Unlike long track speed skating where the athletes race in pairs, essentially against the clock, the short track skaters compete in packs of usually between four and six, on a much smaller oval. With tight turns and always the chance for falls and crashes, the skaters wear hard helmets.
 
And there are a number of ways a contestant or team can be disqualified, including impeding, skating outside the designated area and false starts.
 
In the women's 3,000-meter relay, the South Koreans jumped the opening gun for a false start. Another false start and they would have been disqualified. Instead, their final skater, Shim Suk Hee, passed the Chinese with half-a-lap to go and crossed the finish line first for the gold medal. 
 
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics the Koreans were disqualified for illegal contact after thinking they had won the gold.  Though she was not on that team, Shim said through a translator, she certainly remembered the heartbreak of her countrywomen.
 
"When I went past the [finish] line, even though I was watching it on TV four years ago, I still thought of that moment," she said.  "It came up to my head. I was really happy and I could feel what my other teammates who took part in it felt and I was more happy for them."
 
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
x
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
China was the beneficiary of the Koreans' disqualification four years ago, moving up to the gold. This time it was the Chinese who were disqualified for an improper move after finishing second. That meant the Canadians were elevated from third place to the silver medal, and the Italians, who had a skater fall early in the race, were advanced from fourth place to the bronze medal.
 
Canadian Marianne St-Gelais said she and her teammates were as surprised as anyone that they ended up with the silver medal.
 
"We were proud of what we did," said St-Gelais. "So when we saw we came in third we were happy, but we didn't know something happened because we hadn't seen anything in the race. So when we saw the final result we were proud. Like we wanted the gold medal for sure because it's never happened, but we're really, really satisfied with the silver."
 
After the Italians suffered their crash, the public address announcer brought laughter from the crowd when he announced that they were now "about 15 years behind" the other three teams. Italian Arianna Fontana said they did not let the crash bother them.
 
"We didn't give up. We kept going. We tried to go fast anyway, and in the end when we saw that the Chinese got [disqualified], we were really excited, really happy and we couldn't believe it," said Fontana.
 
For the South Koreans, considered one of the strongest short track speed skating teams at these Winter Games, the women's relay win was their first gold medal in five of the eight scheduled events.

Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site

You May Like

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid